Chicken Shawarma

$7.98 recipe / $2.00 each

This has to be the very best chicken marinade that I’ve ever made. The marinade was so good that I might even use it as a sauce in the future. The flavor is an interesting mix of savory garlic, sweet spices like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg, and tangy yogurt and lemon. It’s pure magic. Next time I’ll probably cut the chicken into strips before marinating to increase the surface area and magnify the flavor saturation.

I made this chicken with the intention of eating it in these sandwich wraps but then I started topping salads with it and eventually just snacked on it plain. It’s just that good. You could really use this flavorful chicken for anything. I divided the ingredient list to show just the chicken & marinade in case you want to use it for something other than the sandwich, because even if you don’t want the sandwich, you NEED to at least try the chicken.

If you’ve had chicken shawarma in a restaurant, this is a bit different. Real chicken shawarma is cooked slowly on a rotisserie with fattier bits of chicken. The result is an uber-moist, somewhat greasy delight. Also, when you buy a chicken shawarma sandwich, the lettuce is usually tossed in an oregano vinaigrette, feta and red onion. Well, I had some feta and red onion but forgot both when building my sandwich. A total tragedy… but it was still magically delicious.

Chicken Shawarma

Chicken Shawarma

4.8 from 24 reviews
chicken shawarma
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Total Cost: $7.98
Cost Per Serving: $2.00
Serves: 4
Ingredients
CHICKEN & MARINADE
  • 2 lg. (1.25 lbs) chicken breasts $2.48
  • ½ cup plain yogurt $0.25
  • 1 Tbsp minced garlic $0.36
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.32
  • ½ tsp cinnamon $0.03
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.03
  • ½ tsp salt $0.02
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg $0.03
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves $0.03
YOGURT SAUCE
  • 7 oz. cup plain greek yogurt $1.59
  • ¼ tsp minced garlic $0.03
  • ¼ tsp dried dill $0.03
  • ¼ tsp salt $0.02
SANDWICH
  • 4 homemade naan, pita, or flatbread $0.64
  • ½ head romaine lettuce $0.80
  • 1 medium cucumber $0.69
  • 2 medium roma tomatoes $0.63
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the ingredients for the marinade (yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and clove). Add chicken to the marinade, coat well, cover and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. If desired, slice the chicken into strips before marinating to maximize the flavor.
  2. Prepare the yogurt sauce for the sandwiches. Open a 7 oz. container of plain greek yogurt and stir in the garlic, dill, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. After marinating the chicken, grill until cooked through (I use a George Foreman, cooked for about 7 minutes).
  4. Prepare the vegetables for the sandwich. Chop, rinse, and drain the lettuce in a colander. Wash and slice the cucumber and tomato.
  5. Build the chicken shawarma sandwiches. Spread the yogurt sauce on your flat bread, top with the chicken and vegetables. Roll the sandwich closed. You can wrap the sandwich in foil to help it stay closed as you eat.

 

chicken shawarma

Step By Step Photos

shawarma marinadeshawarma marinadeTo make the marinade, combine the yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, cinnamon, oregano, salt, nutmeg, and clove. This is a seriously magical mix of herbs and spices. I can’t explain it, you just have to try it.

marinate chickenCombine the chicken and marinate, cover (or seal) tightly, and refrigerate for 4-24 hours. My chicken breasts were frozen so I just added the marinade to the freezer bag (after they were thawed, of course) and marinated them in there.

grill chickenGrill the chicken until cooked through. It may be time for me to upgrade my 10 year old, single-serving sized George Foreman! I need more grilling capacity!

slice chickenAfter it’s grilled, let it sit for a few minutes to let the juices redistribute and then slice it into strips. Like I said, next time I’ll probably slice it *before* marinating to let more of that glorious flavor get in.

dill yogurt sauceTo make the yogurt sauce for the sandwich, I just stir some dried dill, minced garlic, and salt into a container of plain greek yogurt.

dill yogurt sauceHonestly, I don’t even measure them, I just sprinkle some in, taste it, and add more if needed. I like to let the sauce refrigerate for a while to allow the flavor to soak into the yogurt.

prepare veggiesPrepare the veggies for the sandwich. Wash and slice up the cucumber and tomato (and maybe red onion, if you’re so inclined). Chop and wash the lettuce, then let it drain in a colander until mostly dry.

chicken shawarmaThen, just build your sandwich! I have the yogurt sauce on top in the photo but you’ll probably want to spread it right on the bread. It will add more moisture there plus it will be easier to eat without getting white yogurt sauce all over your face!

82 Comments

  1. OMGZ! I had Chawarma for the first time at a Lebanese place up the street and had to figure it out because I was instantly hooked. This was excellent. I made mine with chicken thighs because that’s what I had and yeah, deliciousness!

  2. Andrew says:

    Hi Beth,

    Your website was a revelation for my girlfriend and I as we do not have a lot of time or money on our hands so thank you! I always wonder, what kind of garlic do you use for most of your recipes? Do you mince your own fresh or do you just go for the jar of the pre-minced stuff?

    • I’ve gone back and forth over the past six years. I started using fresh garlic and mincing it myeself, then for a while I used minced garlic from a jar because it was just easier and slightly more mild, now I’m back to using fresh. I like them both for different reasons. :)

  3. Sean F. says:

    Made this for the third time yesterday, and it turned out great. I followed the recipe to a T. In the past I had let the chicken marinade for a few hours, but this time I let it sit over night. There was a noticeable difference in the flavor. Thanks for another wonderful recipe, Beth!

  4. Jessica says:

    Sooooo good and nicely healthy too! We threw the chicken on the grill and this made for a good summer meal.
    Our almost 3 year old approved too! He ate a deconstructed version and loved dipping in the sauce (glad I doubled that!)

  5. Up until recently, I had never heard of chicken shawarma and thought that it sounded good. I did an internet search and found your recipe, so I recently gave it a try. My family and I loved this recipe so much! I didn’t have chicken breasts, so I substituted chicken thighs and it was awesome. This recipe is a keeper, and I don’t even like cucumbers, but they were good in this recipe.

  6. Sara P. says:

    Hi there! Sorry to comment on a really old post! Wondering if you have any suggestions for how to cook this chicken in a crockpot?

    • I don’t think this one would work well in a crock pot because slow cookers are too moist. It definitely needs the dry, high heat of a grill or even a hot skillet. If cooked in a slow cooker it would probably turn a bit soupy.

      • Sara P. says:

        Thanks, Beth! Took your advice and used a George Foreman instead of my slow cooker. This marinade is off the chain! I used about half as much greek yogurt total (10 oz total for the marinade and the sauce) b/c it’s what I had, and only used 1 lb of chicken (again b/c it’s what I had). I really liked the way this came together and can’t wait to make it again!

  7. LaTrice says:

    Oh, my gosh. This Chicken Shawarma is out of the world delicious!! I used two chicken breasts, split them in half, and then cut them into strips. I marinated the chicken overnight. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a grill pan, so I used a regular skillet. I added chopped tomatoes, red onions, and feta cheese for the sandwiches. My sister and I LOVE them!! I will definitely make the chicken shawarma again next time. Thanks for this awesome recipe, Beth!! :-)

  8. LaTrice says:

    I’m making the Chicken Shawarma for dinner this week, and my sister and I can’t wait to dig in. Is it possible that I can cut the chicken breast into strips, and also, how long can I marinate them? Thanks, Beth!! :-)

  9. Amanda says:

    This was seriously good. I tend to stick to your vegetarian meals because they are cheaper but I usually add this one in every other week because it is sooooo good. I don’t have a grill so I just empty the marinated chicken bag into a skillet and it cooks just fine.
    I also use precooked naan from Costco, and the past few times I have used fresh dill because it is available to me. When using fresh I have to add a lot more than suggested to get the real flavor of it.

  10. Erin S. says:

    I made this tonight and it turned out amazing! I marinated the chicken for 24 hours and it came out so flavorful and tender. This is a new family favorite!

  11. Michael says:

    This recipe is fantastic! The marinade seemed odd, but it comes out delicious, and the naan far exceeded my expectations. The second time I made it I subbed spinach for the lettuce and added slices of avocado, both additions that I thought worked decently well.

    Bottom line, I made it for a friend and she said it tasted better than the ones she’s eaten while overseas in Romania!

  12. Courtney Puckett says:

    I love your blog and all of your recipes! Your blog is a life saver for this single mom/teacher!!!

  13. Tiffany says:

    I don’t have a grill. Would i be able to cook the chicken in the broiler?

    • Yes, that would probably work. Just make sure to keep a close eye on it because food can burn quickly under the broiler.

  14. Julie B says:

    I love this recipe. I did as you suggested, and cut the chicken in strips before adding to marinade. The mixture of the spices with the other ingredients is so very good. This also makes great leftovers.

  15. This was quite possibly the best chicken I have ever made. I made the Naan the day before (I questioned my naan abilities but it came out rather well, barring the flour mess), and let it marinade overnight, didn’t have tomatoes, and substituted pickles for cucumber..

    Used chicken strips because, again, that is what I had on hand – and it saved any ‘slicing before’ issues, too. I can’t recommend the marinade enough. I intend to make other people try it.

  16. Meghan says:

    This was so good and EASY! Made it two nights ago and just made another batch of chicken in the marinade to either eat tonight or to freeze the chicken (cooked) for lunches. Even my 5 and 3 yo liked this. My husband and I ate ours’ with feta, cucumber, red onion, lettuce and tomato. We bought a big pack of naan last weekend at Costco for 5.50, and there’s enough in there for all of us to eat this for at least 2 meals, so that saves me the time of having to make that and it’s still relatively cheap.

    • Kathleen says:

      I’m going to grill a bunch of chicken with this marinade and freeze it to use for sandwiches and salads and what not. I think the freezing is a great idea!

      • Kathleen says:

        I grilled a bunch of strips and froze them. Soooo gooood! I don’t even mix them in a sandwich, just throw them in with some mixed bowls / leftovers for lunch. I want to savour the full flavour!

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